Ottawa should acknowledge that Canada is a resource-based economy, and if it really wants to accelerate a post-pandemic economic recovery, its policies should be designed to help resource and manufacturing industries do what they have always done: put people to work.
That is the gist of an 83-page report from a coalition of 36 Canadian business groups, trade unions, First Nations groups, chambers of commerce, think-tanks and industry associations.
Securing Canada’s Economic Future was produced by the Real Jobs, Real Recovery task force spearheaded by Resource Works.
Economic modelling by G. Kent Fellows, professor of public policy at the University of Calgary, estimates Canada’s resource and manufacturing industries could create 2.6 million new jobs and increase Canada’s GDP by 17%, with the right policies.
The report will be submitted to the federal government and the Industry Strategy Council.
It makes recommendations on how the federal government can leverage Canada’s existing resource and manufacturing industries to help speed Canada’s economic recovery.
It acknowledges the need to focus on innovation and decarbonisation, but one of the task force’s advisers warns against a hyper-focus on a “green” recovery that is still somewhat ill-defined.
“Minister (Chrystia) Freeland is talking about a green recovery,” said Adam Pankratz, an economics professor at the University of BC’s Sauder School of Business and task force advisor. “And we don’t really know what that means yet.”
If “green” is going to be the defining colour of a federal economic recovery plan, the task force puts forward some specific recommendations for focus, including carbon capture, hydrogen production, power grid enhancements and fast-tracking small modular nuclear reactor development.
“If the economy is going to get going after COVID, we really have to recognize where our natural competitive and comparative advantages are in the world, and make sure that those are a key part of it going forward,” Pankratz said.
“A move to decarbonisation and a transition to green energy, the report is supportive of that, but that is not what should be happening for Canada’s economy out of the gate. We have to take advantage of what we have right now – our natural resources – and that is what is going to get our economy going.”
The report does not offer much in the way of “shovel-ready” investments designed to immediately kickstart things. Some of the big projects that will help stimulate the Canadian economy are, in fact, already underway,including the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, LNG Canada project and related Coastal GasLink pipeline, to name a few.
The task force’s recommendations for improving conditions for resource and manufacturing sectors are more long-term in nature. Building small modular nuclear reactors, for example, is something that would likely take a decade, from start to finish.
However, as Pankratz points out, things like tax policy changes is something that can have immediate impacts that improve productivity and spur investment.
“We can talk about better carbon tax credits and so on,” Pankratz said. “These things can happen right away.”
Some of the recommendations in the task force report include:
a globally competitive tax credit to incentivize carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) and direct air capture;
raising the federal SR&ED investment tax credit to 20% from the current 15%
extending the Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance for major capital projects to 2030 and consider making it permanent
earmarking $200 million for a plastics technology innovation fund
fast-track implementation of the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers’ (CCFM) Forest Bio-economy Framework
amending the Indian Act and extending Indigenous communities the use of the federal sovereign guarantee to provide Indigenous entrepreneurs access to capital
Build road, rail, deep seaport and IT infrastructure in areas where infrastructure gaps gaps exist
Establish a national low-carbon energy grid and promote electricity interties between provinces.
MLA Mark Smith: kickstarting the province’s economy – Pipestone Flyer
With children back to school life is starting to gain a sense of normalcy again. Despite the year looking very different than most, kids are happy to have rejoined their peers and parents are readjusting to once again maybe having a moment of time to themselves. Our government has been working hard to protect children and their families while also ensuring that we maintain education standards and keep kids on track. Children have been provided with personal PPE and schools are taking incredible measures to sanitize and disinfect routinely throughout the day. We are also working towards safely and successfully reopening our economy and getting Albertans back to work during this difficult time.
One of the key ways that we are going to kickstart our province is by diversifying our economy and investing in core infrastructure like building roads and schools, this will not only directly benefit our communities, but create thousands of jobs for people across the province. As a government we are also focusing our efforts on creating and attracting international investment opportunities by making Alberta a more competitive tax environment. We will achieve this by accelerating the Job Creation Tax Cut to 8 per cent, this tax cut went into effect July 1, 2020, a year and a half sooner than promised. On top of this, the Alberta government is adding $1.5 billion in committed dollars towards the Keystone XL pipeline, this will make the government’s total contributions to infrastructure in 2020-21 close to $10 billion. We can anticipate infrastructure funding going toward facilities such as NAIT, Red Deer College, University of Lethbridge, Olds College and several more, ensuring Alberta’s post-education students that we believe investment in their education is always paramount. Infrastructure spending will also occur at the local level across the Drayton Valley-Devon constituency receiving significant funding for local projects including several water projects an aquatics center, ice hockey arena and road improvements.
Albertans can also look forward to more than $1 million going towards trail enhancement and infrastructure at some of Alberta’s recreational facilities and parks, providing jobs throughout the design and construction phases. As Albertans have stayed closer to home this summer, many have been able to get out and enjoy our local outdoor spaces, reaffirming the importance of maintaining our backcountry.
Our government has also been changing internally to meet the ongoing needs of Albertans during this pandemic through the creation of a new government portfolio called Jobs, the Economy and Innovation. Led by Minister Doug Schweitzer, this new Ministry will be responsible for the implementation of Alberta’s Recovery Plan, and its specific strategies and growth data. There will be a direct focus on small business priorities and creating economic growth within communities. Together, as a province, we will make it through these challenging times, one adjustment at a time.
-MLA Mark Smith
JOSH LAUGHREN: No green recovery without blue economy, and no blue economy without fish – SaltWire Network
As the federal government prepares the throne speech for Sept. 23, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has rightly emphasized the importance of planning for a green and just recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. The $32-billion “blue economy” — our oceans — must be part of this strategy.
The pandemic, climate change, habitat destruction and persistent overfishing have made it more urgent than ever that we invest in our oceans as the Earth’s most important life-support system. Canada now has a unique and powerful opportunity to make our oceans part of a sustainable recovery from COVID-19.
According to government figures, the oceans are a source of approximately 350,000 jobs in Canada — often in communities with few other employment options. The term “blue economy” is a flexible one that can include almost anything related to the ocean: energy, shipping, tourism, recreation, aquaculture, transmission cables and much more. But now, more than ever before, we cannot afford to ignore the original and still vital foundation of the blue economy: wild fish to support the domestic seafood industry.
Canada’s fisheries have been severely depleted over many decades, to the point where Oceana Canada’s latest fishery audit shows that only about a quarter of them can confidently be considered healthy. The value of Canada’s wild-caught seafood is dominated by a few shellfish species like lobster, crab and shrimp, leaving little room for error. And the situation is not improving. Our annual audits show that the overall health of Canada’s fish stocks continue to decline. The number of healthy populations has decreased from 2017 to 2020, despite new investments in science and management.
The outcomes of Canada’s current approach to fisheries management has real costs for Canadians and coastal communities. A recent study by Rashid Sumaila and Louise Teh at the University of British Columbia, commissioned by Oceana Canada, showed rebuilding fisheries can deliver long-term economic and social gains for five of the six high-valued stocks they studied. The most optimistic scenario estimated a gain of 11 times more economic value than today. As we have seen from examples all over the world, wild fish populations will usually rebound if we just give them a chance. Failure to do so represents a massive loss for future generations.
There is reason for hope. Successive governments under the leadership of Trudeau have restored funding to fisheries science, improved the transparency of fisheries data and greatly increased the amount of marine habitat protected. And the modernized Fisheries Act, which became law last year, requires depleted fish stocks to be rebuilt. But laws are only effective if implemented, and so far, the regulations needed to support the act have not been completed.
Trudeau and the minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Bernadette Jordan, have stated that the blue economy is essential for Canada’s economic recovery. In fact, it is so important it is at the top of the fisheries minister’s mandate letter. Just two months into the pandemic, Trudeau urged us all to “buy Canadian” to “help the people who keep food on our plates,” as his government invested $470 million to help fisheries recover. But you can’t buy Canadian fish if there are no fish to catch. And in many communities along all three coasts, without fish to catch there will be no long-term recovery.
This throne speech and new mandate will be a watershed moment in Canadian history. Canada’s deputy prime minister and newly minted minister of finance recently said that our country’s economic recovery needs to be green, equitable, inclusive and focused on jobs and growth. We agree.
There is no green recovery without a blue economy, and no blue economy without fish.
Josh Laughren is the executive director of Oceana Canada, an independent charity established to restore Canadian oceans to be as rich, healthy, and abundant as they once were.
China's economy remains resilient despite external risks, says Xi – Reuters Canada
BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s economy remains resilient and there are ample policy tools at Beijing’s disposal despite rising external risks, President Xi Jinping said in remarks published on Saturday.
The world’s second-largest economy has steadily recovered from a virus-induced slump, but analysts say policymakers face a tough job to maintain stable expansion over the next several years to turn China into a high-income nation.
“The basic characteristics of China’s economy with sufficient potential, great resilience, strong vitality, large space for manoeuvre and many policy instruments have not changed,” Xinhua news agency quoted Xi as saying.
China has strong manufacturing capacity, very large domestic markets and huge investment potentials, Xi said.
Xi reaffirmed a “dual circulation” strategy that would help steer the economy towards greater self-reliance, as U.S. hostility and a global pandemic increase external risks.
China still enjoyed “strategic opportunities” in its development, although the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated global challenges as globalisation slows and unilateralism and protectionism are rising, Xi was quoted as saying at a meeting on the country’s 14th five-year plan (2021-2025).
“We must seek our development in a more unstable and uncertain world,” he said.
Xi urged calmness amid rising difficulties and challenges.
“The great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation can never be achieved easily with the beating of gongs and drums,” he said.
Reporting by Kevin Yao; Editing by Alex Richardson
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